06 December 2015, Abuja – Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is expected to get a comprehensive report on the second year post-sales assessment of the operations of electricity generation and distribution assets that were carved out from defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and sold to private investors by the federal government in a power privatisation programme.
THISDAY in Abuja gathered from a highly placed official at the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) which was responsible for the sales and is statutorily mandated to assess their performances annually, that Osinbajo will get the bureau’s report on its latest monitoring of the power assets before December 20.
The statutory assessment of the power assets across the country is coming almost two years after the government handed over the assets to their owners; it however signaled the BPE’s commitment to its expected responsibility of ensuring utmost compliance to extant contractual terms which the owners of the power agreed to while bidding and buying the power assets.
Also, the BPE has almost concluded the assessment on the power assets.
However, its Director Post Privatisation Monitoring Department, Chigbo Anichebe told THISDAY shortly after assessing the operations of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) in Enugu that the agency would be holding the Discos to their loss reduction commitment after they were recently allowed to independently review their Aggregate Technical Commercial and Collection (ATC&C) loss figures.
Anichebe said: “As you know, the bidding was not done based on how much they will pay but based on how fast they can reduce the losses. Basically, we know the value of each Discos but what we didn’t know was how much loses and after the bidding we asked them to do a baseline studies to determine the loss figures.
Osinbajo, it is said, will get the report ahead of time to enable him study and comprehend the findings from the assessment exercise, and the NCP when constituted will help the government find solutions to extant challenges of the sector.
These challenges include, the huge debts owed to distribution companies by government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) which the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) and other relevant agencies have not made serious inroads on despite an earlier directive by the last government that the debts be settled; government’s initial pledge of subsidy to the industry; as well as huge electricity theft in the country would require the attention of NCP.
But in a related development, the Deputy Managing Director of EEDC, Temitope Borisade told THISDAY that the operations of the Disco in the five eastern states of Enugu, Anambra, Ebonyi, Imo and Abia are being hampered by massive energy theft by its customers.
Borisade explained that the Disco on a monthly basis lose as much as N2 billion on account of energy theft.
“From EEDC perspectives, these are commercial losses and we found that customers do this by diverting loads from their meters. Some of them divert consumptions from their heavy equipment.
“We also have cases of welders that hang their wires on our conductors and use that in the middle of the night and these lead to major loses for us. We have an ATC&C loss figure that is in the upwards of 40 per cent and the large part of this is dues to energy theft,” said Borisade.
He further explained: “There are also syndicates that clown our meters and sell to customers who are eventually not on our customer base, however we have a very robust plan that is GIS based. That will capture all building in our licensed areas and we will back that up with enumeration exercise, smart meters that will be on pole tops and customer interface units in the homes and location of the customers.
“We believe that these will reduce the ability of customers to use our electricity without being discovered. On a monthly basis we lose an upward of N2 billion to energy theft.”